Fantasy Dagger Project

Work In Progress / 21 August 2018

First blog post. Let's try this out!

Here's a stylized dagger I'm "working on". I say that in quotations because I finished the sculpt 3 years ago and then started to hand paint it in substance painter and then I gave it up. I probably moved onto more interesting things, or because I was afraid it wasn't meeting the quality bar I had in my head at the time. I'm not a stylized hand painting kinda person. I like to do more realistic type stuff..so painting this dagger is a challenge for me. The whole reason I started this project was so I can practice my stylized sculpting and also my hand painting like how WoW or LoL does. I didn't want to go full cartoony, just suggestive of it. I'm certain the term is 'stylized PBR' for what I'm going for; hand painted base colors, with realistic materials and lighting. I love how that looks on these types of assets, I also just really love baked normals maps and a good roughness map.


Alright that's enough text, here's the sculpt I finished 3 years ago. Pencil sketch by my friend Lonnie Harrison.

(I think the sculpt is still decent. There's a lot of things I would do differently now. But I'm not about to re-sculpt, re-bake anything. I'm moving on. I just want to texture the damn thing.)

Progress of the sculpt (This was a test to myself to create a sculpt from scratch from start to finish only in zbrush):

-Shadowbox, zspheres, dynamesh helped me get the job done-

Lowpoly + normals (I think I baked the normals in 3dsmax...I'm sure this was the last time I ever baked inside 3dsmax again. I moved to substance painter or marmoset 3 for baking now):

I actually think the LP is terrible now, there's a lot I would do differently given how much time has passed..but that doesn't matter to me right now because this isn't for anything. I definitely could have optimized a ton of the topology and loops. What's important here is to move on!

Here's when I stopped after I made the low poly, unwrapped, baked, and painted some base colors. I hated it, and stopped working on it.

Fast forward 3 years later. I have a random stroke of motivation and think about the unfinished dagger. I've worked on a ton of new things these past 3 years, God of War, Bioshock, the Majoras Mask cinematic and Deku Mask. I completely forgot about the dagger. 

First thing I do is open the file, reassess the situation and start to make a game plan. I start to add some materials because shiny things are cooler, add some grunge, paint some edges, I even changed the color of the bandage.

It's looking better, but it still feels off. I don't really like the design that much for some reason. I take a break, go have dinner and I have an AH-HA moment! When I got back home, I changed some proportions, added grass planes, changed the bandage colors back to red, and hand painted some more. Now I'm starting to like the new direction. Still a ways to go, but I'm hyped for the new direction.

Still a WIP. I'll post more as I go!